first_imgFifth-year senior Jared Berggren had plenty to smile about Sunday, as the Badgers’ bench production added to the center’s solid 19-point performance against the Lions.[/media-credit]The Wisconsin men’s basketball team started off its 2012-13 campaign in high-flying fashion Sunday, demolishing Southeastern Louisiana 87-47 at the Kohl Center.From the get-go, it was never much of a contest between the Badgers and their visitors from the south.UW opened the game on a 19-0 scoring run that spanned the first eight minutes of the first half before the Lions broke the shutout on a three-pointer by senior guard Todd Nelson more than seven minutes into the game.By the end of the first half, the Badgers had built a commanding 43-17 lead on 15-for-28 shooting, while they held the visiting Lions to a measly 25 percent clip from the field on 7-for-28 shooting and 1-for-8 from behind the three-point line.While the second half would start out right where it left off for the Badgers, as time wore on, UW Head Coach Bo Ryan increasingly turned to the bench to take the workload off his starters in the first game of a lengthy season.The Badgers would finish with 34 points from the bench, including 10 points from senior forward Mike Bruesewitz and eight points from freshman forward Sam Dekker.For Southeastern Louisiana head coach Jim Yarbrough, Wisconsin’s offensive depth posed too many problems for his team to handle.“They were just terrific in every way,” Yarbrough said. “At one point weeks and months ago, if you told us we would have 47 points, we probably would have been ecstatic in some ways thinking, ‘Well maybe the game could be 58-47, kind of a low scoring affair, grinding it out.’“If this is any kind of example, I don’t think [Wisconsin is] going to have to worry about low-scoring affairs.”Perhaps the most unexpected aspect of the game for Badger fans was not the blowout margin of victory, but the team’s announcement before the game that Bruesewitz had been cleared to play and would participate in the regular season home opener.While the medical staff restricted his time on the court, Bruesewitz finished the game as UW’s third leading scorer with 10 points in 13 minutes off the bench. Senior forward Jared Berggren lead Wisconsin’s scoring efforts with 19 points, quietly putting out a solid performance for Wisconsin and rounding out his statistics with eight rebounds and four blocks.“I thought he did some really good things to keep a post presence,” Ryan said. “We did touch the post; some teams you will be able to touch the post more than against others. Jared did a pretty good job with that.”Helping Berggren with the scoring load and on the boards was redshirt sophomore guard Ben Brust. Often a hot-and-cold shooter last season, Brust finished the game with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field and hit both of his two attempts from behind the arc. The 6-foot-1 Brust also led all players with 11 rebounds. Following the departure of point guard Jordan Taylor, who graduated last spring, and Josh Gasser to a season-ending ACL injury, some thought UW might struggle on the defensive side of the ball with two of the Badgers’ best defenders no longer on the court. But the combination of Brust, redshirt freshman George Marshall and sophomore Traevon Jackson at guard held the Lions’ starting guards to 19 points – including only two points from senior guard Brandon Fortenberry, who was Southeastern Louisiana’s second-leading scorer a year ago and is expected to carry the bulk of the offense this season.“We knew Fortenberry could score,” Ryan said. “I thought we did a pretty good job of, at times, handing him off to the next guy, forcing him to squeeze in areas of the floor to where he was uncomfortable. Our positioning wasn’t too bad.”Looking ahead to the rest of the season, especially with the loss of Gasser, Brust and the other guards know their defensive play could play a big role in the Badgers’ results.“Obviously Josh was [all-Big Ten] defensive team last year, so collectively in the guard spot, I think me, George and [Traevon], we’re going to have to do a good job working together … and do our best to get what we can without Josh,” Brust said. “We’re just going to have to step up.”Despite a dominating first performance in Wisconsin’s official unveiling of this year’s team, the looming matchup with No. 10 Florida Wednesday kept Ryan from getting too carried away with the Badgers’ 40-point rout.“[Traevon], and Ben, George, they did OK,” Ryan said. “But we are obviously going to have to be better against the next opponent.”Follow Nick on Twitterlast_img

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